Wash Your Hands!
Germs are spread by direct contact (if you touch an infected person, or an infected person coughs or sneezes on you), or by indirect contact (when you touch something that has been contaminated by germs).
Hands often provide the perfect warm, moist environment for germs – and because hands are touching things constantly, they can be picking up germs and spreading them around constantly. Germs on your hands can transfer to furniture, baby equipment and toys – which may be enough to spread colds, influenza and sore throats, stomach upsets, skin infections like impetigo and ringworm, eye infections such as conjunctivitis, or diseases such as chickenpox.
Germs can live on dry surfaces for hours, and on moist surfaces for up to three days! And you would be amazed at how often you touch things, then put the fingers near your mouth or touch other items which your child may later touch … and how often does a child put fingers into his or her mouth? Good cleaning of surfaces and equipment will help control the spread of germs, but efficient hand-washing will stop some of the germs getting on the surfaces in the first place.
Therefore, correct hand-washing is extremely important – especially if you are pregnant, or have a baby or young child. And you should teach your child at an early age to wash his or her hands properly … and often.
- Correct hand-washing:
- Wet hands under warm running water.
- Use a good soap and rub the front and the back of the hands, between fingers, and under the nails thoroughly, for at least 10 seconds.
- Rinse hands completely under warm running water – rubbing as before to remove soap and finally remove any remaining germs.
- Dry hands really well – using a clean towel or a fresh paper towel.
You (or your child) should wash hands:
- Before preparing or serving food
- Before eating
- After going to the toilet
- After changing baby’s nappy
- After helping a child with toileting – especially important if the child has diarrhoea,
- After being outdoors
- After playing with pets
- After coughing or sneezing into hands or a tissue
- After caring for a sick child
- After clearing up messes or spills
- After doing any general cleaning
This information presented to you acts as a guide which contains researched information only and is not intended to replace advice from a qualified health professional
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